Managing complete month in the limited pocket money is one of the biggest challenges for college students. Here are some tips to help you manage your college expenses without compromising with fun.
As prices of everything going up managing expenses in limited money received from parents gets difficult for the students. The situation gets worse for the students staying away from families. They need to make ends meet in whatever money they get from their parents. Though some students take up some odd jobs to manage college expenses, but not all opt for this. Those who have to manage complete month in the pocket money received from parents need to think of strategies to manage money, save for parties and large expenses, and for emergencies. Budgeting is one of the best options to utilize your money wisely, but this alone is not enough to meet all college expenses like tuition fees, housing, food, traveling etc.
Here are 11 tips to manage college expenses without compromising with fun and enjoyment.
1. Make a budget
School students usually are in the habit of spending money carelessly, but the life changes a lot once you get into college. In college, the budget becomes a crucial thing to manage all expenses in limited money you get from parents. Even if you plan to take up some part time job along with your studies, you should make a budget to keep a check on your expenses.
Just making a budget in the beginning of every month is not enough to enjoy a comfortable life. You also need to stick to it to ensure that you don’t end up getting into debts due to unplanned expenses.
2. Decide who pays for what
Students moving out to a new city for higher education have extra expenses of accommodation and food. In such a situation, it is better to discuss it with your parents that who will bear which cost. For instance, you can plan in advance that the hostel or PG cost will not be part of your monthly pocket money.
3. Plan your expenses beforehand and track them
Do your math and keep money aside for import expenses like rent, bills, groceries etc. If you are living in PG for students near DU, you might not have to spend money on groceries but you need to pay a monthly food bill. This planning will give you a real idea of the money you have for other expenses like parties. Proper tracking of your expenses will help you understand how successful is your money management plan and the money you could save at the end of the month.
4. Make use of online services and money management apps
In this digital world, everything has got extremely easy and quick. Even managing money has become a cake walk for people with limited knowledge of money management. You just need to download an app and update all the expenses in this to help it remind you of your budget. Further, money management apps also encourage you to use net banking and other online services to save money. Some online calculators and apps also give you estimate of college cost in a particular city. For instance, if you take admission in any DU college, the app will calculate the college expenses based on the cost of living in the city, fare rates, tuition fees, living cost etc.
5. Differentiate between needs and wants
In the excitement of joining the college and enjoying the most, students end up wasting their money on unwanted things. Shopping for trendy clothes, regular parties, eating out on different food joints around college etc. are some of the unnecessary expenses, which students can control easily. You should first differentiate between needs and wants. Once you make a list of needs and wants, allocate money for needs first and then for wants. For instance, paying rent and traveling expenses are needs while dining out is a want.
6. Don’t abuse credit cards
No doubt credit cards come as a lifesaver when you get stuck in a store without hard cash, but at times these can also leave you with high debts. As you have to pay money later, you end up spending more than your budget. Ideally, college students should avoid using credit cards as the burden gets transferred to their parents only. If you earn yourself, you should try to clear your balance every month to avoid any penalty or interest.
7. Live like a college student
Yes, this might sound absurd, but it highly affects your expenses. As a college student, you should control unwanted expenses and live life as frugally as possible. Prefer PG or mess food over take-outs and avoid a few concerts having costly entrance tickets. Cooking at home is always cheaper than restaurant bills. So when you don’t like food provided at PG or at the hostel, you can cook yourself.
8. Earn while you learn
Many colleges in India offer ‘earn while you learn’ options, where students can take up some odd jobs in college and earn money. Working in college will help you gain experience and earn money without affecting your studies. You can attend your classes and can participate in activities planned under ‘earn while you learn’ program for students.
9. Avail student discounts
Many companies and some government facilities like bus services offer a discount for students. Never leave an opportunity to save money and show your student ID card to avail extra discount.
10. Go on Dutch
Eating out at food joints near the college campus is common among students, which is normal as this is the time to enjoy life. But you should think of ways to save money when eating out. One of the best options is to go on Dutch. In college, every student is equal and gets almost same amount from parents as pocket money. So instead of putting the burden on one friend every time, it is better to share the expenses and enjoy parties to the fullest without any tension of funds.
11. Look for used books
Textbooks remain almost similar every year, which means you don’t need to buy the full-price new book. In Delhi, you can easily find shops where second-hand books are available. These books not just help you save money but sometimes also help you get important information in the form of notes made by the student who used it before you.
You can also search for online sources or can buy textbooks at eBay and Amazon to get them at discounted price. Avoid buying books or other stationary from the campus bookstore as these mostly keep prices higher than market rates. You can also borrow books from the college library and can return them after making notes.
Going out in an open world of college might be exciting for school students, but soon it can become a difficult place to manage if you don’t manage your money well. To ensure that you can focus on your studies without thinking about the ways to manage expenses and repay debt all the time, it is better to do the calculation and plan every penny you want to spend in a complete month.